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Feds say Alabama only state with higher unemployment rate than a year ago

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MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Alabama is the only state with a higher unemployment rate for June than a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Alabama's unemployment stayed the same from May to June at 6.8 percent. Alabama recorded 6.5 percent in June 2013.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 49 states and the District of Columbia recorded a decrease in their unemployment rates compared with June last year. Alabama's rate for June was higher than the national average of 6.1 percent, the bureau said. A year ago, Alabama's 6.5 percent rate was better than the national average of 7.5 percent.

Alabama's seasonally adjusted unemployment figures showed 144,991 people were looking for work in June, an increase of 6,647 from a year ago. Alabama had 1,994,537 people employed, a decrease of 9,712 from a year ago.

Gov. Robert Bentley's office pointed out that when only non-farm jobs were considered, Alabama's employment picture looked different, with about 5,200 more people working than a year ago. That included gains in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. Alabama measured declines in government jobs and in educational and health services.

The unemployment figures came out two days after Bentley returned from the Farnborough International Air Show in England, where he announced three industrial expansions for Alabama, with the largest being 450 jobs at Science and Engineering Services in Huntsville.

"For Alabamians who want a job, we remain focused on helping them find and keep a job," the governor said in a statement.

Among Alabama's neighbors, Mississippi reported 7.9 percent unemployment and tied Rhode Island for the highest rate of any state. Florida measured 6.2 percent, Tennessee 6.6 percent and Georgia 7.4 percent.

Alabama counties with the lowest unemployment rates for June were Shelby at 5.0 percent, Baldwin and Cullman at 5.7 percent, and Lee and Cherokee at 5.9 percent.

The counties with the highest rates were Wilcox at 17.2 percent, Perry at 14.8 percent and Dallas at 14.3 percent.

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